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When Acquisition Mistakes Hurt Defense

The U.S. Air Force is buying 20 light support planes for the Afghan air force, but because of acquisition mistakes by the U.S. the planes may arrive after U.S. Air Force trainers have left the country.

Paperwork mistakes in the original acquisition process forced the Air Force to re-open competition for the contract. According to a DoD Buzz article:

Because of the mistakes made by the Air Force, the contract for the 20 planes will cost U.S. taxpayers an extra $72 million and the first ones will not start arriving to Afghanistan until 2015. The original contract awarded in 2011 was for $355 million and set to have planes delivered by 2014.

U.S. forces are set to leave in 2014, which is now before those 20 planes are scheduled to arrive. So not only did that paperwork mistake cost the U.S. an extra $72 million, but it may make the planes bought with that money far less effective.

Read more in the DoD Buzz story.

By: Andre Francisco
Online Producer, POGO

andre francisco Andre Francisco is the Online Producer for the Project On Government Oversight.

Topics: National Security

Related Content: Defense

Authors: Andre Francisco

Submitted by tctaylor at: March 1, 2013
Who gets the $72 Million? Why are we paying penalties to people who didn't deliver the goods? I'll bet these are some very well known MIC companies who have been fined for price gouging or other crimes before.
Submitted by Vance at: March 1, 2013
I was in both Baghdad and Afghanistan working on anti-corruption programs. A bigger problem with purchases like this is that Communist run countries don't budget for maintenance, so the planes won't be maintained if we don't pay for it and be there to ensure the work is actually done by trained mechanics. I saw it happen time and again in Iraq where we provided huge capital projects and didn't ensure the Iraqi government budgeted for maintenance and spare parts. All sorts of equipment from huge generators to SUV's would grind to a halt from lack of maintenance. In Iraq, they were used to Saddam having contracts with the French and Germans, who always did the maintenance as part of the contracts. However, the US and partners assumed the Iraqis would budget for and provide maintenance and they did not. I was on the Tiger Team that in 2005 restructured reconstruction spending to setaside $60-million for spare parts and training just for the water systems.

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